Are you a 'Permatemp' at Apple, Inc.? Do you know someone who is? This very abusive practice is being used more and more by employers to strip full-time workers of their rights to benefits like health insurance, unemployment insurance, paid vacation, sick time, stock options and more. Microsoft was sued for this abuse, so isn't it a tad suspicious that there are no actions being taken against Apple and other companies misclassifying employees?
Your friendly neighborhood temp agency: We all know that companies occasionally rely on temps to work on low priority or consulting type projects. This is hardly unusual and certainly legal, as the time period is indeed 'temporary,' lasting perhaps from a few weeks to a few months. This is business as usual, and some firms will hire a temp who has been there more than three months and who has proven his or her worth. What is not business as usual: We live in a time of outsourcing and we are all aware of that and the dire effect it has had on jobs in our country. The problem is, US workers (and yes, citizens) are now being 'outsourced' in a sense, even 'laundered.' This is happening through a process called 'Employee Misclassification.' What this means is that regular workers who are indeed 'controlled' in the usual manner of reporting in at certain hours, supervised by a manager and reporting on site are mislabeled as 1099 independent contractors to save a company from the expense of paying out benefits. If you do some research on this, you'll see that even the IRS is not entirely clear on the issue of misclassification. So as usual, ordinary people are left to fight for what is fair. Many 'faux temp' agencies have now been set up as payroll agents by big companies like Apple to take care of the dirty little secret that is their Permatemp workforce. These agencies do not even approximate what goes on in your average temp agency. Permatemps often find that they cannot get a hold of anyone at these agencies when their pay is late, for example. They rarely provide benefits, as some ordinary temp agencies do. Permatemps often attempt to get some kind of help or advice from their managers at the company they are assigned to as a result of being negelected by the faux agencies. And why shouldn't they? They work on site (in many cases, for years), performing the exact same work as the regular employees they work alongside! The Permatemp faces a very isolated situation at work and it can often feel like he or she works in a 'caste system' of sorts. It can be pretty emotional when you work at a firm full-time, for years on end, only to see your colleagues sprint miles ahead of you in terms of promotions and benefits. And Permatemps are not, as some might assume, unskilled or disposable talent by any means. Sometimes they take on work that is even more specialized than that being performed by regular employees. Why struggle through years of training, only to be treated this way? Certainly tech work starts to look a lot less attractive when you realize that so many are stuck in the Permatemp and 'faux indie worker' rut. I am appealing to anyone who feels that the Permatemp phenomenon is another oppressive piece in the puzzle of elites doing whatever they can to destroy the middle class and the living standards we are all entitled to. And as Americans, we have worked so hard for these rights. Do not let corporate America erode them away. Let's show them who's really the boss here! There are so many more of us than there are of them.
In closing, I'd like to leave you with a favorite quote of mine:
"First of all, you don't have to speak truth to power, because they know it already. And secondly, you don't speak truth to anybody, that's too arrogant. What you do is join with people and try to find the truth, so you listen to them and tell them what you think and so on, and you try to encourage people to think for themselves."
- Noam Chomsky
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